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By Patrick Tandy

Rockville’s Richard Montgomery High School claimed the top spot in this year’s MSBA High School Mock Trial State Championship on April 26, 2019, at the Court of Appeals of Maryland in Annapolis. Presiding Judge Michele D. Hotten ruled in favor of Montgomery High, which played the prosecution to Baltimore City College’s defense, 57-46, in a hard-fought match involving a case of teenage cyberbullying. Both schools emerged from a field that began with 152 teams statewide.

Hotten heard testimony from a host of student actors in the case of a humiliating Instagram post that follows a breakup between two high schoolers. In the end, she praised both teams for “sometimes thinking outside the box, which is what an advocate is supposed to do.”

At the special luncheon that followed, MSBA President Dana Williams said that the Mock Trial Competition is “an exciting and viable introduction to the legal system” for the students, their coaches, parents, and schools alike.

“Our rule of law – our Constitution – is what makes us different from so many countries around the world,” said Williams. “Respect for the rule of law, the judicial system, and judges provides for a civil and rational way of resolving disputes.”

Barry Gogel, Chair of the Board of Directors of Maryland Youth & the Law (MYLAW), thanked the MSBA for its role as a partner in the Mock Trial Competition, which MYLAW administers.

“These are the things that professional organizations like the MSBA should do, and as a lawyer I am very proud to be part of a professional organization that takes on the responsibility that it has to the future by funding operations and programs like this,” said Gogel. “We are very proud of our partnership with the MSBA.”

Now in its 36th year, the MSBA High School Mock Trial Competition challenges students to think critically about timely issues. The program’s objectives include promoting a better understanding of the law, increasing proficiency in soft skills such as listening, speaking and reading, and fostering greater appreciation for academic studies as well as law-related professions. Learn more at MYLAW.org.

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